Junior dos Santos often gets praise for being one of the best boxers in the heavyweight division. So why did he end up trying to brawl with Francis Ngannoun in the main event of their UFC on ESPN 3 fight in Minneapolis? That’s a question dos Santos is still trying to answer himself after losing the bout in just 71 seconds (watch the highlights here).
“If I had followed the strategy a little more with more attention, I think I would do very well,” a frustrated Junior said at the post-fight news conference. “I was feeling good, I was feeling fine. My punches were connecting. My kicks were connecting. I felt good.”
“But the mistake was … why overhand right? I should stick the strategy and throw straight punches. Maybe the jab and cross would be a better option. When you see opportunities you go too hungry for those opportunities. Sometimes you pay a high price for that.”
“I don’t want to take any credit, but I kind of gave him that victory,” he continued. “Why throw that overhand right and get closer to him? Give him the chance to answer on top. Because that’s what he does. Every time you miss a punch on him he is right there to reply to that. It was a big mistake. Like I said, I did it in the fight with Derrick Lewis, but I was able to get back. This time it didn’t work.”
The loss to Ngannou snaps a three fight win streak for dos Santos, which is a very hard number to get to in the volatile heavyweight division. But even at 35 “Cigano” seems confident he’ll be able to turn things around, get back on a streak, and work his way back to the title he lost to Cain Velasquez back in 2012.
”Sometimes all of a sudden it disappears from in front of you,” he said. “I’m a positive guy and I’m ready to rebuild. I know how to do it. I’m made of truth and I’m truth. I know how to do it again and I will do it again.”
He re-affirmed that drive and commitment on social media shortly after the loss.
”I’m sorry the show was short this time, and without a great result for us,” he wrote. “I’ve been on top of this sport and weight class for over a decade, and I plan to be here for a long time still. I love fighting, I love my life, and I’m really grateful for every opportunity I have to grow and evolve.”
”The climb is tough and long, as you all know and sometimes — like tonight — months of perfect preparation and strategy are overshadowed by a millisecond’s mistake. There isn’t much to say now other than to congratulate Francis Ngannou for capitalizing so effectively on my mistake.”